Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jeremiah 17:7-8


"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit." 

The one who trusts in the Lord
And puts all hope in Him will be happy.
For she gains her strength from the Living Water,
Strongly rooted by the River of Life,
And she won't fear trials or temptation;
But she will be sustained and unaffected,
And won't worry in a time of spiritual dryness,
Because she will never stop bearing the fruits of the Spirit.




Friday, May 18, 2012

God So Loved the World - Spring: Filming Days 1-3

Spring Filming is on! Here at Fountainview Academy we are filming the third episode of God So Loved the World. Below are some videos so you can see behind the scenes and check out what we've been up to recently. For more information, visit http://fountainviewproductions.ca/.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Revolutionary Preoccupation

We interrupt the usual programming (i.e., the next post about David) to bring you this update:

It all started on the evening of May 14, 2012. I was preoccupied with fixing and organizing small details in my iTunes library (it was probably a waste of time...thankfully God made something good come of it). In the process of finding missing album artwork, I found myself on the GYC website. As I browsed, a blog post caught my attention...
Revolution Underway: Memorizing Acts
It started so small. Just two women and one idea so radical I pinched myself wondering if I was brave enough to own it too.

In the simplest terms, The book of Acts: 28 chapters, 1,007 verses, 24,308 words—in 300 days.
It didn’t take long before the ripple of excitement had extended from Alonna and my sister Natasha to the rest of my family and a few other friends.

And then something came over us, and we ventured to dare....
Interest sparked.

I read the rest of the post, and then another, and another. I clicked on links to other websites and blogs. I joined a group. I downloaded an iPod app. I prayed. I told other friends about it. And now I'm telling you.

The verdict:

By God's grace, I will
saturate myself in scripture,
hide [His]tory in my heart,
and get preoccupied with the Word.

And why not start with the Book of Acts?

To say the least, I have already tried to memorize other books of the NT, but I have not yet been successful at sticking to it until completion. But this Memorizing Acts Challenge is helping me set definite goals to reach. It helps to have a friend living in the same house doing it too. And there are over 80 of us around the world...


So why Acts?

First of all, the Book of Acts is the theme for this next GYC (Acts: The Revolution Continues).

Secondly, instead of, "The Acts of the Apostles," the title really should be, "The Acts of the Holy Spirit."
The experience of the early church, fresh and filled with the Holy Spirit, is to parallel ours in these last days.

And frankly, we're not keeping up with those early apostles and missionaries.

Not yet...

They turned the world upside down in a single generation.
The gospel literally went out to all the known world.
They were with one accord.
They were filled with the Spirit...overflowing, in fact.

But we're still here.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be here any longer than necessary—here, in this sin-sick world.
And I am very much a sick one...

But I have been saved by grace,
bought with blood,
and prayed for by the King of the universe.

I love Him. You probably do too. The question is, how much?

Enough to seek to turn the world upside down...in a single generation?
To take the gospel to the whole world?
To live with one accord?
To be filled with the Spirit...and overflowing?

Enough to be preoccupied with His Word?

Yes.

No? If you have been preoccupied with other things (and I assure you, I have too, very much...), "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Today is the day.

It's time for change—

in my life,
in yours,
in the church,
and in the world.

Won't you join us?



"Thy word have I hid in mine heart..." 



Acts: The Revolution
Join our Group online
scripturetyper.com


PS We've just started on Chapter 8, which is where I started. I'll do the first 7 chapters afterwards. Feel free to dive right in!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

David: Fear, Faith, and Failure

He is one of my favourite Bible characters. The call of God on his life, the trials he endured, the patience that was necessary, the faith that sometimes failed, the struggles with self, the forgiveness he experienced, the heart who still loved God, and the desire to glorify the true Sovereign of Israel—I feel like I can relate.

I've been reading through the book Patriarchs and Prophets for the first time. I've learned so much, especially from the life of David. It is jam packed with lessons and insights on the Christian life and experience. 

One thing struck me. So often we look at David’s affair with Bathsheba as the “only” failure of David’s life, including the sad and terrible consequences that followed. But as I was reading, I realized that David actually failed many times throughout his life.

For example, his “first error,” as the author of the book calls it, occurred when he first fled from Saul and went to the tabernacle at Nob, where the high priest was.
"Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, 'Why are you alone, and no one is with you?' So David said to Ahimelech the priest, 'The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, "Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you." And I have directedmy young men to such and such a place. Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found' " (1 Samuel 21:1-3 NKJV).
What did David just do here? He lied. He was afraid of being caught, and he distrusted God to the point of lying to the priest, who could have helped him had he told the truth. David lost hold of his faith, and out of fear he resorted to deception.

Right after leaving Nob, David fled to Gath, a Philistine city.
"Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him, 'Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying:
"Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands"?'
Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath" (1 Samuel 21:10-12).
We’re starting to see a pattern here. How does David handle his fear this time?
"So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, 'Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?' David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam" (1 Samuel 21:13-22:1).
Patriarchs and Prophets says that “his second mistake was his deception before Achish” (PP 656). Again, because of fear he used deception to escape his situation. Instead of trusting God to save him out of his predicament (that he got himself into) he trusted in himself. 

As I read this, I started to wonder how I could relate to David’s experience. Just a couple of paragraphs later, I found the answer:
Every failure on the part of the children of God is due to their lack of faith. When shadows encompass the soul, when we want light and guidance, we must look up: there is light beyond the darkness. David ought not to have distrusted God for one moment. He had cause for trusting in Him: he was the Lord’s anointed, and in the midst of danger he had been protected by the angels of God; he had been armed with courage to do wonderful things; and if he had but removed his mind from the distressing situation in which he was placed, and had thought of God’s power and majesty, he would have been at peace even in the midst of the shadows of death; he could with confidence have repeated the promise of the Lord, ‘The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed.’ Isaiah 54:10” (PP 657). 

Sometimes, at the end of a day, I look back and I see how much I failed, maybe even in little things. Have you ever felt that way? I don’t know what it is for you; it could be anything from neglecting your devotions to letting your tongue get the better of you. Maybe you look back and you see how selfish you were, or how little you seemed to accomplish. You fill in the blank.  

But whenever you fail or make mistakes, remember that Every failure on the part of the children of God is due to their lack of faith.” That sentence nearly blew me away when I first read it. The first words conjured up all my recent failures, and I saw truth in it's piercing light. Every time I failed, it was because I lacked faith. It was just that simple.

I once read this passage for my devotions in the summer, and I had an idea. It says that David “had cause for trusting in Him” and then went on to list why. So, I decided to prayerfully write down my cause for trusting in God.

I encourage you to try it. Sit down with a pen and paper, and ask God to remind you specifically how He has proved Himself to you in the past. I guarantee that you will gain a huge blessing, and you will discover that there is no reason to distrust God "for one moment."

Maybe you are facing personal battles today. Instead of being afraid, taking things into your own hands, and turning fear into failure and a lack of faith, remember God’s faithfulness. He will work all things out for good, and if you go to Him in faith, He will give you more faith and fill you with courage to do what is right. He will be able to save you from failure, if you constantly trust in Him.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).


One more thing. David did fail many times, including committing the gross crimes of adultery and murder, but in the end... Well, I'll save all of that for the next post :) 

Stay tuned!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Surprise!

Well, today I am 18 years old...and 39 days. It's a little late, but here we go....

My family and friends threw me a big surprise party for my 18th birthday.

The end.

Just kidding! That would have been a pretty lame blog post.

First, I want to say kudos to my family for actually pulling it off... I usually find things out pretty fast (not always accidentally), but this time, I had no clue! I mean, I knew 18 was a big birthday (especially for Filipinos) and I figured we would do something a little more special. But I was so busy right before Spring Break and I barely even had time to think about it. I thought we would celebrate it at my grandparent's house, maybe with some friends. Boy was I wrong...

The first of many times that someone almost gave it away was at a friend's house the first night. His grandma was there, and when she greeted me she said, "So I hear you have a big birthday coming up, right?" I wondered how she knew.

When we went to my grandparents' place the next day, my dad asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. He mentioned that the Old Spaghetti Factory (one of my favourite restaurants) had just opened in Kelowna. My mom said there was go-karts too. All very good decoys, of course.

The next day was Sabbath, and instead of going to my grandparents' church we went to another area church to be with some friends we hadn't seen in a while. We went to their house afterwards for lunch. Though I suspected we might do something special there, we just had a very nice visit. Before we left the father said something about seeing me later in the week (I think he was supposed to), and everyone kind of looked at him funny (because he didn't say it quite right), but I didn't think twice (I did think once, however). Afterwards, I wanted to drop off a gift for an old friend who lived close by. I knew my friend wasn't home, but when we asked where her mom was, her dad said, "Oh, she went into Armstrong to see you and give you a card from Claire. I think she's going to the church...or to your grandparents' house." I didn't know until later that he almost gave it away without realizing it.

My family had to change their plan from plan 1 to plan 2 to plan 3 each time something like this happened. Finally, this is how it turned out...it was quite elaborate.

When we came back to my grandparents' place, they told us they had to go to a "church planning meeting." My mom had to go too because there was a practice right after (for the Filipino ladies, I assumed). I wanted to see one of those ladies, and I also needed to deliver some Help in Daily Living DVDs to her. So, my dad and I waited at the house until my grandparents called to let us know that the meeting was almost over. It was almost 7 o'clock, and as we waited I asked my dad when we were going to eat. He responded, "I'm sure Grandma's making something."

Finally the call came. My dad mentioned something on the phone about eating at A&W. When we got to the church, I was not surprised to see all the cars in the parking lot. It was quiet because the meeting wasn't over yet, and we headed downstairs. When I turned the corner, in the distance I could see some people sitting against the back wall in the dim light, and I thought, "Who are they?" I didn't even notice all the balloons and the tables of food. As I got closer, someone struck a chord on the piano, and everyone sang "Happy Birthday" as I came in. I didn't know what to do; I just stood there, awkwardly holding the DVDs and my purse. As I scanned across the fellowship room, full of around 80 people, I saw many friends I hadn't seen in a long time and thought I wouldn't have the chance to see. I cried. As soon as the song was over, Susan and Denis (my violin teachers) played a wonderful Happy Birthday duet. Then we dived into the food: pansit (Filipino noodles), pansit, and more pansit, plus some other goodies (my mom had asked a bunch of ladies to make my favourite food).

When everyone was mostly done eating (except me), the program started. My mom went up front and explained how big someone's 18th birthday is in the Philippines. For hers, she had to dress in a big ball gown and dance with 18 girls (in ball gowns) and 18 boys (not in ball gowns), who all gave her roses. We did the "tamed down" version. 18 instrumental family or friends in my life got up front to say a few words to me, and then they gave me a rose. Some were letters sent by family and friends who could not come, and my dad picked appropriate people to read them to me. There were special music numbers scattered throughout, as well.

Afterwards, my dad led out in the slideshow. It was more like a game show. He started at the "beginning" with pictures of himself when he was a little boy...and then went into random pictures of myself growing up, and the audience had to guess what my "career choice" was based on what I was doing in the picture, and then the "real career choice" would be displayed on the screen. All good guesses were rewarded with a chocolate bar. If you know my dad, you can imagine what sort of "real career choices" he came up with. The second half of the slideshow was entitled "Love." Again, if you know my dad, you can only imagine what that was like. Basically, there were a bunch of pictures of me and some guy friends throughout my life, starting with a little friend I had when I was 4 or 5 in Australia, who he deemed my "first love." One section of these pictures were with guys who had been "picked out" by others for me, and as we went through them, my dad told everyone to cheer for the one they thought was the best. It was all very hilarious (and a big joke, too, mind you).

My parents had asked everyone in the invitations not to bring gifts, but instead to bring a donation towards ARISE costs, where I will be attending this fall. God really blessed, and we raised a good amount. I still have quite a ways to go, however. Please pray that I will be able to raise the amount that is left, in God's time. Your prayers and support are appreciated!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this long epistle about my birthday party. Thank you, friends and family, for coming and making it a blast!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Officially Canadian, Eh? Yea!

Hello world! Within the past two hours, I officially became a Canadian citizen!

The ceremony was good, serious, with a bit of humour, and full of import. I thought that I would cry when I finally became officially Canadian, after waiting for 13 years, but I suppose it was too "surreal" as my dad put it.  I've noticed that when I participate in something that signifies a great change (such as graduation), my emotions don't come out until after the fact. I just felt somber, even nervous for some reason. But as I write this, the excitement is catching up to me :)

We got there quite early to check in and turn in our permanent residency cards. Good bye PR card! Hello citizenship certificate! After waiting for a long while and taking pictures, the ceremony finally got under way. The MC (I'm not sure what office she was) explained everything to us, and then the presiding judge and officers and representatives of government officials came in and took their seats. The RCMP constable, who stood behind the judge the entire time, opened the ceremony, and then the judge had a nice speech about Canada and what it means to become Canadian, etc. She repeated some phrases in French as well. Afterwards, the 60-some of us who were soon to be Canadians each stood and raised our right hands and said our full name. Then, repeating phrase by phrase after the judge, we took the Oath of Citizenship:

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Then we lined up to receive our certificates, shake hands, and receive a bunch of pins and flags and books etc. The representatives of the government officials gave speeches to congratulate us, and then we sang (or tried to sing) the national anthem. (When we stood up to say our names, I couldn't understand half of them...there were 18 countries represented at the ceremony). Afterwards, we lined up to take pictures with the Mountie and the judge.

I am officially Canadian, eh? Yea!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Can't, but You Can

Date: April 15, 2011
Title: Remember
(Edited for sharing purposes)

Remember to come when I call. Remember that you are not your own. You are Mine, both by right, and by your surrender. My will is still binding on you, even when it seems that I don't always ask you to fulfill it in the same way. For My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. I am calling you higher; remember, even the unpleasant, ugly, uncomfortable steps are necessary. To go higher, you must first learn to go lower. So in that sense, I am still calling you lower. You must let go of your pride.

But Lord, I'm trying! I don't even really know how. How can I give up something about myself that I don't even understand?

I can give you the wisdom.

I know, Lord, but even if I did know how, I know I couldn't.

I can give you the strength.

I know all this, Lord. I guess it's just hard. This battle is hard.

I came not to bring peace, but a sword [Matthew 10:34]. Remember what you read this morning. Who are you that you should be afraid of self, who will die? [Isaiah 51:12]. What can self do to you? When you cry out to Me, Your enemies will turn back. This you know, because I am for you. I will keep your feet from falling [Psalm 56:4, 8, 9, 13].

Forgive me, Lord, for asking this, but then why do I fall?

You only fall when you let go of Me. I'm not going to hold you up if you refuse My hand. And if you accept My hand, you must accept all from My hand. Remember, you are not your own.

Lord, I can't do this. Part of me wants to continue that full surrender, but self is holding me back. You are asking a lot. No, You're asking for all. And it's almost too hard. I never really thought it was this hard, long ago, but then I didn't understand it as fully. Now I am starting to see more just how entire this must be. I want to, Lord. I want to surrender. I want to be humble. I want to let go of my pride. But...

You can do nothing of yourself. You can't even surrender your all yourself. Only ask me to take your all, and then I will enable you to be wholly surrendered to me. Please, I long for you to let Me.

Then Lord, take me. Take my all. Do what you will with my life. I can't battle self. I know I can do nothing. I come to you with nothing of my own to offer; no power of my own, no wisdom of my own, no righteousness of my own. Please, Lord, utterly crush my pride. I don't want to seek my own. Make me always remember that I am nothing. Please, Lord, I can't, but You can.


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